The NHL regular season begins Wednesday, October 7. It's always a special night because briefly, oh so briefly, all 30 teams are equal. All are tied for first place, all have equal potential, and fans of all 30 teams have equal dreams of winning the Stanley Cup. (Reality will barge in quickly and rudely, don't worry.) As ever, a team's fortune can rise or fall on one player in particular: the goalie. A few extra saves in the coming months can mean the difference between missing the playoffs and making a run for the Cup. Don Cherry always says goalies are a little crazy – you'd have to be to choose to stand in front of 100-mph slapshots – but a look at their car choices show that perhaps they're saner than they might appear. Here are some of today's top goalies, plus five retired stars.
Jonathan Bernier, Toronto Maple Leafs
The Leafs goalie spent the off-season in style, recently turning up at a Canadian Grand Prix party in his McLaren MP4-12C. It's a sure bet that cruising around in that work of art is a lot more fun than facing 50 shots a game, which is pretty much what he's heading into this season.
Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators
Anderson may have lost his starting spot last season to Andrew "the Hamburglar" Hammond, but one thing he'll never lose is his loyalty to the Corvette. When he played for the Avalanche, he had one painted on his mask, and when he moved to the Senators the design came with him.
The 'Vette is actually his second vehicular artwork, however, as prior to his stop in Denver he sported a weird Robert Crumb-like dune buggy on his Panthers mask.
Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers
It's a car fit for a king: The Lamborghini Gallardo. One of the top goalies in the NHL, Henrik knows how to treat himself and has a history of splashing out on high-end sports cars. Before the Gallardo, one of his previous vehicles was a Maserati Quattroporte.
Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins
About a year ago Marc-Andre Fleury sold his Nissan GT-R because he and his wife had just had a new baby. (Another soldier falls in the battle against adult responsibility....)
Still, at least he enjoyed his youth, as he had owned previous top-end cars. All this and he gets to play with Malkin and Crosby! And now add in Kessel! The guy's got a good life.
Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
No sports car for this guy. Having grown up in remote Anahim Lake, BC, (a circuitous 10-hour drive north of Vancouver, most of it through dense forest), Price stays true to his roots with a Ford pickup. Although, come to think of it, it would be interesting to see how a Porsche or a Lamborghini would handle the bumps and bruises of the trip should the Olympic gold-medal hero visit home.
Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins
In the middle of every night Tuukka Rask sits up screaming, drenched in a cold sweat, having just suffered a deep, dark nightmare. As his mind clears, he starts to remember that in fact he is no longer with the Maple Leafs, that he was traded to the Bruins, that he won the Stanley Cup in 2011, and that he is one of the top goalies in the NHL. As calmness descends, he looks out his window and sees a BMW 525d in his driveway, and then he lies back down and drifts back to a happy, contented sleep.
Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles
For the past five years or so, Quick's name is always mentioned whenever fans argue over who is currently the best goalie in the NHL. It's certainly tough to argue against his candidacy, as he has been a brick wall for two Stanley Cup championships. In 2012, just before the start of the Cup finals, he pulled up outside the rink in this Mercedes S-class, having given teammate Willie Mitchell a ride to the rink. What a nice guy.
Kari Lehtonen, Dallas Stars
Most NHL executives would choke on their cigars should they discover that one of their top players had been zooming around a track with Mario Andretti. The Stars are unique, however, in that they actively promoted the day their No. 1 goaltender – the man on whose shoulders the franchise's dreams rest, remember – spent at the Texas Motor Speedway in an Indy Car, hitting speeds in excess of 100 mph.
Roberto Luongo, Florida Panthers
Here's a weird one. A couple of years ago Roberto Luongo tweeted out this pic of his luxury SUV, complaining that the wheels had been stolen while it had been parked in his driveway. Were they thieves? Or were they so-called fans seeking one-of-a-kind (well, four-of-a-kind) souvenirs? The tweet kicked off a series of good-natured ribbing between Luongo and his then backup Eddie Lack.
Jaroslav Halak, New York Islanders
While many players drive some gorgeous automobiles, Halak chose to stick to a more humble Subaru. Can you blame him? Look at the mounds of dirty snow behind him and imagine all the salt that must be out there too. The dude is wise. Picture driving a Porsche in the winter and wincing at the sound of rock salt continually pinging off its body. That photo was taken a few years ago when Halak was just starting out with Montreal, but even now, having cemented himself as a premier NHL goaltender, he's still playing in a northern city with its harsh winter.
Ondrej Pavelec, Winnipeg Jets
Last season Pavelec posted a stellar 2.28 GAA to go along with a .920 save percentage, leading the city of Winnipeg to its first NHL playoff appearance in almost 20 years. (The Jets were, um, swept in four games – but it was the start of better things to come!) Success hasn't changed the six-foot-six star, however. In a sight replicated at recreational rinks around the world, here's a photo of the goalie struggling to heave his heavy equipment bag into the trunk of his car. Who needs to lift weights?
Jonas Hiller, Calgary Flames
Ever since he was a little kid, Flames goalie Jonas Hiller nurtured a passion for cars. Even today, just for fun, he spends his summers with some friends fixing up automobiles at a local body shop in his hometown of Felben-Wellhausen, Switzerland. And there's more. Not long ago he hired a California bodyshop to customize a BMW into a full-on race car, including new motor, brakes, pedals, control arms and much more. Don't worry – it was also given a new paint job after this photo was taken.
Cory Schneider, New Jersey Devils
For the past two years in New Jersey, Schneider has played out of his mind, recording statistics that put him in the top five of the league. However, because no one on his team can score, the Devils have missed the playoffs both times. Will this year be different? Probably not – unless he can somehow score 50 or 60 goals while also keeping the puck out of his own net. Oh well. At least his consolation will be driving around in a luscious black Audi A7, like the one in the photo.
Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay Lightning
It stands to reason that Bishop – at 6'7", the tallest goalie in NHL history – can't squish himself behind the wheel of a Lamborghini or a Ferrari like so many of his smaller-statured teammates do. No, the big guy instead chooses to drive one of the few vehicles able to accommodate him comfortably: a Ford Expedition – black, like the one in this photo.
Everybody remembers the Eagle as an amazing goalie and cutthroat competitor, but what few knew about was his absolute love for hot rods. During his career he launched a shop, Carman Custom, located in Michigan but named after his Manitoba hometown. Since Belfour's retirement, he's continued to pursue this love, detailing hot rods for other athletes, former teammates and average Joes like you and me. Featured in the pic is one of his old jobs, painted Maple Leafs blue, and posed (achingly) with a little Stanley Cup.
Remember when Hasek came out of his one-season retirement, catching everyone off guard? We might have a clue to his motivation: he needed to pay for this sleek Rolls Royce Phantom, which, depending which options you choose and where you buy it, can cost close to $1 million. The car fits his character too. The Dominator was always one of a kind, and there can't be too many NHLers driving around in one of these.
The goalie who is No. 1 in almost every career category (games played, wins, shutouts, saves, shots faced, as well as, um, losses and goals allowed) always knew how to keep it real. One of his vehicles was this Harley-Davidson motorcycle. On the downside, it'd be impossible to carry the Cup around on that.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere reached many notable milestones during his career: he won the Conn Smythe trophy (in a losing cause), he won a Stanley Cup, he was the last Hartford Whaler active in the NHL, and he holds the NHL record for fewest goals allowed in a best-of-seven playoff series (one). Oh, and despite being able to afford virtually any type of sports car, he chose to stick with a Lexus RX 400 hybrid SUV, like the one pictured, saying that all he wanted was a car to get him from point A to point B.
Ken Dryden famously won the Conn Smythe MVP trophy for leading the Montreal Canadiens to the 1971 Stanley Cup the year before he won NHL rookie of the year. However, a fact that has become a little more shrouded in the mists of time is that his prize for winning that MVP was a brand-new 1971 Dodge Charger, complete with a rare electric sunroof and painted to match the red of the Canadiens' uniform. Against all odds, this car has survived the decades virtually untouched, and turned up on Montreal roads a few years ago.